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Ran a quick search on the phrase "best bass player who ever lived" and found two references to Jaco Pastorius and two for Cliff Burton. No mention of Brian Bromberg, Geddy Lee, or the man I'd have voted for out of personal bias: Victor Wooten. And, okay, I can forgive everyone for not thinking of Edgar Meyer, since he's technically not a bass player.

But why so few webpages, devoted to so few artists?

Maybe people just don't care about bass players. That's understandable, I suppose - most of the bands I grew up on let their synth players handle bass, and/or kept the bass parts mind-numbingly simple. But occasionally, someone stands up to show the world how much a great musician can contribute on any instrument, and I guess I just thought this would leave an impression.

To check that theory, I searched for "best guitar player who ever lived" and found two Jimi Hendix links, and two for Stevie Ray Vaughn. Good solid choices, to be sure. But where's Robert Johnson? Eric Clapton? Andres Segovia? Duane Allman? Eddie Van Halen? Jeff Healey? Kenny Wayne Shepherd? Kyle Gass? The Great Kat? Surely they each have their own rabid following, ready to fight to the death anyone who dares dispute their champion's obvious superiority!

Is it possible the fanboys have called a truce, acknowledged that their heroes have all made significant contributions to the world of music, that the individual styles and personalities which put them ahead of everyone else make it impossible by their very nature to directly compare one musician's relative merit to another?

Why, no. Of course not. Something isn't right.

Must be my wording.

"Greatest bass player who ever lived" brings up two pages of links, mostly devoted to Jaco Pastorius. That's a little better. We've got a consensus, at least.

"Greatest guitar player who ever lived" also brings up two pages, and a more diverse list of names, but the popular vote is clearly with Hendrix.

But the numbers still don't add up. Perhaps no one cares about guitar players, either.

"Best singer who ever lived" brings us two pages, and "greatest singer who ever lived" brings us four. So, twice as much interest in singers as guitar players, who are exactly as popular as bass players.

I don't buy that either.

So, after several hours of careful deliberation, there's really only one conclusion I can come to:

          This wasn't a very scientific test.

...maybe I'll put up a poll later. =)


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2002 06:21 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree that bass players hardly get all that much attention. I'd say these days pretty much everybody knows about Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and then there's an occasional household mentioning of Tony Canal or Steffan Lessard, but besides that it's just a bunch of chicks drolling over the vocalists. Which reminds me of an individualistic friend I have who just started bass and believes that every man on earth who plays bass is automatically hot.
And besides the bass players not being heard of, I would definitely agree that the wrong bassists are commonly recognized; I'm sure my dad, who practically worships both Victor Wooten and Geddy Lee, would too.
But I do think that guitarists definitely get more attention that bassists, and if there's anyobdy that gets less attention than anyone it's gotta be the drummers.
Jun. 23rd, 2002 01:02 pm (UTC)
Haven't tried this yet...
But I would think just "greatest bass player ever" would bring back more hits, instead of adding in the "that ever lived" clause.

Jun. 23rd, 2002 02:56 pm (UTC)
Your way does indeed bring up more hits, but not that many more (7 pages on Bass, 11 on Guitar), and I don't think these people are nearly as committed to their choices - it's a different level of hyperbole.

Of course, "that ever lived" is a different search from "who ever lived", and then you've got "of all time" and "in history" to deal with, so let's simplify a bit.

A search for "greatest bass player" returns 45 pages of links, while "greatest guitar player" returns 69 pages. Knock that down to 32 pages of bass links and 44 pages on guitar if you filter out qualifiers like "might be" and "possibly". That's still a good sized mob of people willing to stand by their beliefs, no doubt about it. But, I thought there'd be a lot more.
Jun. 23rd, 2002 05:25 pm (UTC)
well if you aren't the dumbest homosexual's i've ever goddamned seen. that is all.

Jun. 23rd, 2002 08:58 pm (UTC)
Out of curiousity, why write anonymously when you've got at least three accounts you could have posted from?

Just checking. =)
Jun. 23rd, 2002 11:50 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say thank you soo much for helping me out with my depression. Reading your comments along with everyone elses made me cry with happiness, and I can't even explain in words how much better I feel. I read your comments and the advice helped me a lot.. just taking my mind off of things by doing other activites really did the trick. Your words remind me of those said from a real psychiatrist. I'm happy to say that Ben and I made up on the last day of school, and that we're once again talking like we used to with a bond closer than ever. Everything is going much better for me now that school is out =)

I don't know what else to say.. just, thanks again. It means a whole lot when someone shows how much they care like you did.
Jun. 24th, 2002 01:31 am (UTC)
That's what I'm here for. I'm just glad things worked out! =)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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